Driving Offences (Drunkenness)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill 12:00 am, 28th July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will indicate the total number of drunk-in-charge cases during the year 1958 under the Road Traffic Act; the number against whom proceedings were taken; and in how many cases the maximum penalty was imposed.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 30th June to his previous Question on this subject.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the description given to this type of offence by a prominent sheriff when he described it as a crime is probably correct? Does not the small number of cases in which the maximum penalty has been imposed indicate the need, not for heavier penalties, but for the greater use of the existing penalties? Can the right hon. Gentleman do something about it?

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

As a matter of fact, one of the difficulties is to know exactly in how many cases the maximum penalty has been imposed, because, as emerged from my earlier reply, there are great problems in finding out in how many cases the maximum penalty was imposed.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

Is the Secretary of State aware that there is a presumption that many of the cars which surround roadhouses and other drinking places are not driven by teetotallers? Would it not be advisable to have officers keeping observation late at night and, if necessary, prevent people driving rather than depend on penalties which seem to have failed to have any effect?

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

I very much hope that people who drive motor cars will increasingly realise how wrong it is to drive cars unless they are completely free from the influence of alcohol.